Welcome to the September Issue of Chiwi Journal! Your monthly newsletter with the content I filtered, curated and wrote based on 140+ hours of reading and listening time.
Quick update from my side:
I'm sending this newsletter from Lisbon, Portugal!
Yep, I officially farewelled my beloved London last month and moved to Portugal to start a new chapter of my life.
- My birthday is the same date as the anniversary of Macao's Return from Portugal to the Motherland (December 20th), so I always have a special obsession with Macao and Portuguese culture since I was a kid.
- One of my favourite writers, Fernando Pessoa, was from Lisbon.
- My favourite childhood dessert is KFC Pastel de Nata.
- Two of my online friends I'd love to meet are in Portugal already!
- Portugal has launched the Digital Nomad program and offered a flexible working visa.
See, I've collected so many dots on the way, and it's time to take action.
Now, let's get straight into the content.
🎙️Podcast of the month
If you are a fancy British accent and are interested in culture, history, philosophy and science, BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time Podcast would be your great company!
The host, Melvyn Bragg, is a renowned British radio and television broadcaster who has aired more than 800+ episodes throughout his career. He vigorously guides three academics through a particular subject of their expertise and deep dives into relevant topics on each episode.
From Hokusai’s Great Wave woodblock print to the history of machines imitating living beings; from Godel’s incompleteness theorems to Shakespeare’s great tragedies. What impressed me most is the show also covered a wide range of Chinese literature, philosophy and history. For example, Journey to the West (a great novel from the Ming Era, with its heroic Monkey), The Cultural Revolution, Li Shizhen (a Chinese doctor who investigated natural remedies and compiled the most incredible medicine treatments) and so many more!
📚 Book of the month
I read many history books that featured Winston Churchill and admire his leadership style and literature attainments since I was young. He's my hero and role model. So, the first week of moving to London, I went to Parliament Square to see his statue.
While wandering around his statue, a lady approached me and asked me if I’d like to have her ticket to visit Churchill War Rooms nearby because she had some other arrangements and couldn’t make it. Hell-yeah! What a surprise! Later that year, I also visited Churchill’s family residence (Blenheim Palace) and graveyard (The Parish Church of Saint Martin Bladon) to show respect.
In his lifetime, Winston Churchill published more than 40 books with over 10 million words, won the Nobel Prize for Literature, painted 500+ pictures, delivered 2,300+ speeches... And, of course, he was a busy politician who led Britain to victory in World War II.
Q: What made him super productive?
A: Self-discipline and a love of life.
Looking at Churchill’s daily routine, he woke up, took a hot bath, and spent two hours writing and working on his letters. Around noon he greeted his wife (Churchill believed the secret to maintaining a good marriage was not to see your lover before noon) and enjoyed lunch. After the meal, he took a walk around the house, feed the swans and fish, then sat in silence and meditated or read poetry. He then took a nap around 3 pm and woke up around 5 pm to spend time with his family. Later, he would take a bath and dress for dinner around 8 pm. Before going to bed, he continued to write or deal with work issues.
Day after day, year after year.
Apart from writing, Churchill developed two hobbies during the war to help relieve his stress: bricklaying and oil painting. Although his skills would not reach the professional level, his hobbies provide him with solitude to have a clear mind and cope with political disappointments.
If you’d like to learn more about Churchill’s life, here are a couple of recommendations:
- Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill: A Brief Account of a Long Life
- The Last Lion Box Set: Winston Spencer Churchill
- Think Like Churchill app
- The Darkest Hour
🧐 Tip of the Month
I always encourage people around me to write/record as much as content they can, either online or offline. The key is to keep a record for yourself (memories are unreliable) and for people who care about you and for your next generation.
My family has the tradition to record history. Even though I've never met my great grandparents, I have a general idea about who they are from family genealogy and the images they left behind. The most important thing that impacts me is to have a solid foundation of knowing where I come from by reading family mottos and stories - if my ancestors have come through all advisories, I can too!
Time is running out very fast, so get to know your family while they are still alive!
👩🎓 Newsletter of the month
More than 20 years ago, a best-selling book, The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age, introducing the concept of 'The Sovereign Individual'. In a simple term, the Sovereign Individual is a group of people free from the constraints of geography and can generate revenue anywhere, anytime in the digital age.
Throughout history, you will see that society is constantly changing, gradually and then suddenly. These changes might be hard to notice, partly because the mainstream media still leads public opinion, resulting in a single and manipulated narrative. But the birth of the Internet has accelerated the spread of information. Some people have benefited from the flow of information and take personal responsibility to achieve sovereignty.
We were once in a society where if you wanted to be X, you had to do A, B, C... We obeyed rules at school, followed the crowd to university/graduate school, then entered the workforce, found someone who had a similar path, got married and had children, who would repeat the same course.
As the technology and digital economy continue to evolve, standardised paths are becoming less appealing. Instead, those who take the unusual approach or find a niche are more likely to succeed. Sovereign individuals represent the latter, actively seeking and filtering information, stepping outside the usual circle of life, creating their own rules of the game and building leverage.
With the pandemic accelerated the process of remote working, the world is a playground for sovereign individuals who can choose any country or region to earn multiple sources of income, anywhere at any time. The typical 9 to 5 or 996 way of working will sooner or later become history.
The concept of the Sovereign Individual particularly resonates with the younger generation born in an era of mass digitalisation. If you'd like to learn more, please feel free to subscribe to The Sovereign Individual Weekly Newsletter. I'll interview the writer behind this newsletter Doug Antin this month and deep-dive this subject.
📝 Recap of my English content
- Book Review: Indistractable by Nir Eyal
- Ten Cult Movies/TV Shows Recommendation
- Chiwi Journal Podcast #119: Born as a Girl, Chinese Higher Education System, Stereotypes and Migrant Entrepreneurship with Royal Reed
- Chiwi Journal Podcast #118: Zen Meditation, Most Recommended Books, Competitiveness and Know Thyself with Richard Reis
- Chiwi Journal Podcast #117: Revolution, Ideology, Cyber Anarchism and Nation/Network State with Nick Lee
- Chiwi Journal Podcast #116: Artistic journey, Self-realisation and Life philosophy with Monica Tong
- A Paradise of Poems
👀 What I am up-to this month
- contributing content to a meta project on Metaverse in Chinese
- interviewing interesting people on Chiwi Journal Podcast
- playing FPL with my mates in China and NZ
- remote working at Madeira, Portugal in September and October
Question from CY Circle reader:
Let me start with a story from the book Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath.
“You and a friend are having a picnic by the side of a river. Suddenly you hear a shout from the direction of the water—a child is drowning. Without thinking, you both dive in, grab the child, and swim to shore. Before you can recover, you hear another child cry for help. You and your friend jump back in the river to rescue her as well. Then another struggling child drifts into sight… and another… and another. The two of you can barely keep up. Suddenly, you see your friend wading out of the water, seeming to leave you alone. “Where are you going?” you demand. Your friend answers, “I’m going upstream to tackle the guy who’s throwing all these kids in the water.”
See, we have to tackle the problem at its roots. In this case, we need to look at how we spend our time first and then decide how to use time more effectively.
Here is the example of how do I spend my 24 hours:
24 hours a day
- 7 hours of sleep = 17 hours remaining
- 1 hour to wash, dress, and coffee = 16 hours left
- 2 hours maintaining website/social media channel + emails = 14 hours left
- 2 hours of outdoor and gym exercise = 12 hours remaining
- 1 hour grocery shopping or other chores = 11 hours remaining
- 2 hours chatting with friends and family = 9 hours remaining
- 1 hour of mealtime = 8 hours remaining
- 3 hours deep work = 5 hours remaining
- 1 hour meditation and daydreaming = 4 hours remaining
- 2 hours of reading = 2 hours remaining
- 2 hours of entertainment (usually watch sports and movies) = 0 hours left
Once you know your time allowance, you can prioritise or arrange the time based on different projects and situations.
Another exercise is to design your ideal day. People always think that if they put up with the present, they will live the perfect life in the future. But why not start to write down your ideal day in details NOW and live toward it?
Here is the example of my ideal day:
- Wake up in the morning and meditate
- Gym session or walk in the park
- Deep work in the morning
- Lunch and chat with friends
- Afternoon writing or reading a book
- Watch football games or a movie in the evening
- Dinner with family
- Handwritten diary before bed